The interrelated aspects of our research program include introducing
new chemical transformations, building new complex molecules
with these new reactions, and using these compounds to study
The development of new reactions continues to be an important
endeavor in organic chemistry. Our efforts have been directed
toward discovering better ways of constructing medium-ring-containing
compounds. Using novel transformations that build molecular
complexity rapidly have allowed for the efficient construction
of seven- and eight-membered ring, containing natural products.
Moreover, we have also investigated whether there are new
ways to discover new reactions. In this regard, we have found
that "rational selection" protocols using combinatorial techniques
can provide very attractive catalytic solutions to longstanding
Employing new reaction in the total synthesis of challenging
molecules is not only important for organic chemistry; it
also allows us to contribute to biological chemistry. Building
molecules with unique or unusual biological activities can
offer powerful new tools for studying biological systems.
For example, we have used the synthesis of ilimaquinone, a
marine sponge metabolite, to uncover previously unknown functional
aspects of the Golgi apparatus. Similarly, other natural products
currently under study will be used to provide a better understanding
of the biological systems they influence.
Combining organic chemistry with select techniques in protein
chemistry and molecular and cellular biology yields a powerful
multidisciplinary approach for advancing our understanding
of various important scientific issues.